I see that Brooks Brothers has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a result of changing tastes in business apparel aggravated by the Covid-19 lockdowns. I’m reminded of something in Father, Son, & Co by long-time IBM CEO Tom Watson Jr. (The best business autobiography I’ve ever read)
One of the many people mentioned by Watson in the book is a slightly older executive named Al Williams..much admired by Watson for the way he had worked his way up from a rough background in a coal-mining town to a high executive position at IBM. When Watson asked him how he had done it–how he got so smooth, he seemed like a graduate of Yale–Williams said that his self-improvement program had three fundamental elements:
–buy suits at Brooks Brothers
–read the classics
–listen to classical music
(He also played tennis for an hour a day)
I wonder what an equivalent program might look like in the year 2020? The Brooks Brothers element seems pretty much negated by that company’s financial results, although there are surely differences from industry to industry. But what would be the present-day equivalents of reading the classics and listening to classical music?
Watching videos of TED talks, perhaps?